No blurred lines here.

Are females exploited by the music industry? This writer would have to say; yes, females are routinely exploited by (and in) the modern music industry.

Female exploitation has become such an orthodox in pop music culture that most casual listeners aren’t even aware of it until you shove it in their face and scream “What’s wrong with this? What’s wrong with you that you don’t see what’s wrong with this?”

Take, for example, arguably the song of the Summer of 2013; ‘Blurred Lines’ by Californian singer/songwriter Robin Thicke.

A still of Robin Thicke in the 'Blurred Lines' video. Copyright Diane Martel 2013.
A still of Robin Thicke in the ‘Blurred Lines’ video.                   Copyright Diane Martel 2013.

Since 26th March ‘Blurred Lines’ has been pumping out of every piece of equipment even remotely capable of broadcasting a radio signal, to the delight of both men and women alike. With a catchy hook and infectious chorus the single soon became the soundtrack of the summer, dominating both the airwaves and charts.

In interviews, Thicke has claimed that the song is about “addressing the grey area between consensual sex and assault”- I’m sorry, what?

Who gets confused about the difference between consensual sex and assault? Do you? Robin Thicke does apparently.

Once you examine the (uncensored) lyrics of ‘Blurred Lines’ and it’s music video you begin to realise just how extensive the exploitation of women can be in a number one pop song.

“The way you grab me,
Must wanna get nasty,
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack your ass and pull your hair like that.
I’ll give you something to tear your ass in two.”

Grammar mistakes and misogynistic fantasising aside, the idea of tearing a girls ass in two with your ‘something’ probably falls under the categorisation of ‘assault’ as opposed to ‘consensual sex’, Robin.

The music video just serves to strengthen the concept that women are no more than living sex dolls, who exist only for the pleasure of men.

In the music video, Thicke, singer/songwriter/producer Pharrell Williams and rapper ‘T.I.’ (born Cifford Joseph Harris Jr.) are surrounded by scantily clad, topless women gyrating and humping like dogs in hot weather.

Thicke and Williams are of course dressed in fine suits, chasing and handling these poor girls like they’re browsing through magazines in Eurospar.

A still from the 'Blurred Lines' video. Copyright Diane Martel 2013.
A still from the ‘Blurred Lines’ video.                              Copyright Diane Martel 2013.

In case viewers found it hard to decipher the deep philosophical meaning of the video, the statement ‘Robin Thicke has a big dick’ can be seen emblazoned on a wall while a topless blonde girl flounders around in front of it like a trout on a dry riverbed.

Robin Thicke is not the only star guilty of this objectifying portrayal of women in music videos however; just look at any rapper or hip-hop star in the history of I don’t know, forever and you are 99% guaranteed to see some kind of sexist portrayal of women as mere objects for mens sexual amusement.

Finally, we have the infamous MTV VMA’s performance with Miley Cyrus.

If there was ever a personification of the extremely negative social effects of this misogynistic, derogatory attitude towards women in pop culture, it’s Miley Cyrus.

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke performing at the 2013 VMA's. Copyright MTV 2013.
Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke performing at the 2013 VMA’s. Copyright MTV 2013.

The former Disney television child star shocked the VMA audience with her overtly suggestive sexual behavior onstage, most notably ‘twerking’ (the “rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities”, as explained by on Thicke’s presumably well-endowed crotch.

What’s even worse about the misogynistic attitude prevalent in pop culture is when female pop stars conform to this mindset and further embed it into social consciousness as ‘acceptable’ treatment of women.

Miley Cyrus’s latest video for her single “Wrecking Ball” features her posing naked on a wrecking ball and performing fellatio on a sledgehammer for God’s sake.

Sex may sell, but it’s a sad world when not only are there both men and women conforming to the misogynistic pop culture mindset; the public are more than happy to reinforce it through accepting it as an orthodox of music culture.

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